Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Solomon’s Seal

My life in appalachia - Solomon's Seal
Solomon’s Seal

According to the USDA Forest Service’s pamphlet Some Useful Plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the roots of Solomon’s Seal have been used to treat every thing from poison-ivy to hemorrhoids. I don’t know about that-but I do know their nodding blooms always make me feel as though a small fairy might peek out from their bell shaped blooms and say Hello to me.

Just above Pap’s big garden, is the power pole that services Steve’s house.The pole is on a steep bank about 10 feet high. The EMC guys keep the area around it cut back.

Several years ago, I discovered the little cleared area was a dandy place to look for wildflowers. I guess the back drop of thick woods keeps the area just shady enough and the low vegetation allows your eyes to easily see things that are growing. Acutally it isn’t that easy-first you have to run/climb up the steep bank and hold on to the edge while you survey the plants-but the view is worth holding onto pine sapplings and digging your toes into red clay.

In winter, when Solomon’s Seal dies back, you can see a circular scar on the root stalk. The circular place is said to look like the Seal of Solomon-hence the name.

Does Solomon’s Seal grow around your place?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    May 19, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I don’t think it does. I’ve never seen or heard of it. But thanks to this picture I’ll know it if I see it!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    What a timely post for me – I just learned what Solomon’s Seal is a week or two back! We bought a 125-year-old house up in New England and I’ve spent the spring sending pictures of the plants and flowers I don’t recognize to my friends, and both this and spiderwort were two that were recognized by myriad friends from back home in East Tennessee. What a sweet thing to find up here in the land of long, cold winters. All these and lily of the valley are blooming now.
    I enjoyed reading the other comments, especially the ones who mentioned other plants that grow alongside these little pretties. I’m going to look them up and see if they might survive the winters here as well, and my Solomon’s Seal may have some friends. I have a little aunt on a mountain back down that way who likes packing up plants in boxes and mailing them to me. What a lucky girl I am.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Yes, we have a small patch of woodland on our city lot where much to our suprise and delight Solomon’s Seal, May Apples, trilliums and Jack-in-the-pulpit grow!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I don’t believe it does, cause I’ve never seen it, but I could be wrong.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Aunt Ruth
    May 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    My sister gave me some Solomon’s Seals a couple of years ago and they are growing behind some large hostas in my yard in northeast Ohio. The little lily-of-the-valley type of flowers are so pretty and quite fragrant. I enjoy mine each time I go through my front door.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

    B.-yes we have False Solomons Seal too-Ill see if I can get a photo!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    May 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Tipper, I love Solomon’s Seal. It always makes me sing that old song…
    White coral bells upon a slender stalk.
    Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.
    Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring?
    That will happen only when the fairies sing.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    You know what, I lied to you this morning. It was Goldenseal root we dug up on Wiggins Creek. But I still know Solomon Seal when I see it.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    It grows in England mainly in ancient woods though the very similar garden variety escapes quite frequently and confuses the issue.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    May 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I have never noticed it, but I will surely look for it in the uncultivated sections where I live. Interesting information!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I do not think I have seen this but surely it must grow around here…we aren’t that far from you. I will have to look!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

    A couple weeks ago I was working
    on my water system and just above
    the reservoir I saw two things
    that caught my eye. Since I’m
    several hundred feet higher up
    than a lot of folks, these plants
    weren’t as developed as yours in
    the picture. I had to step over it
    and noticed several bell-like
    things hanging underneath those
    corn-like leaves. Then I saw pods
    sticking out of the ground nearby.
    Kinda looked like Morals but these
    had many seeds about 1/8″ in dia.
    My oldest daughter will be home
    soon and I’ll show this to her.
    She’ll know what it is I’m sure.
    Nice to know about Solomon’s seal.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Yep, we have Solomon’s Seal growing around in the damper part of the woods…I have some growing in an old wild neglected wildflower garden as well…This one is a giant Solomon’s Seal…
    All around some wild geranium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, trillium etc…
    I would loved to have been a fly on the tree trunk when you made your run and go to the top of the hill…LOL…What we will do to get a closer look at nature…
    Thanks for a great post…
    Do you have False Solomon’s Seal around your place…??

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    May 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

    As someone else mentioned, it doesn’t grow here in South Florida, but I make sure I always have some of the root around my home. It is said to be an herb of great protection against evil and ill wishing, bad things in general.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Mostly I have False Solomon’s Seal at my place, although I was very happy to spot one of the “real thing” a couple of years ago. I only have a couple of acres, but there are surprises all the time. And changes, too!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Anyone who has ever attempted to take a photo of Solomon’s Seal will know you were either smart or lucky (or a bit of both) to get the nice photo. It looks like the area is a little more open than most places I see Solomon’s Seal growing, so that helps. For most places, you need to be there either early in the morning or late in the day to get the sun’s rays shining on the blooms. And you also need a period without wind, which we usually have in the early morning, of course.
    Like Ed, I’d liked to have seen that run-and-go, but I’d also liked to have seen the coming back down part – especially if it looked anything like some of my descents 😉
    There are some Solomon’s Seals growing near the lower end of Twentymile Creek (below Fontana Dam) which reach 6 feet or more in length. For anyone who lives in the area, you can see them with only a short walk from the parking area above the ranger station. They’re on the left side of the road/trail.

  • Reply
    Jen Y
    May 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    It does grow here & some of my garden friends plant it in their yards.It’s a great ground cover.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

    We don’t have Solomon’s Seal in South Florida, but I remember the delicate little bells from my childhood. I did not know why it was named that. When I get back to WNC, I will have to mark a plant in summer and get back to look at it in winter and see what Solomon’ Seal is supposed to look like. Maybe I can get the wisdom of Solomon, too?

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    May 14, 2012 at 9:52 am

    My husband and I were walking in our woods the other week and I saw this plant and remarked on its beauty but did not realize what it was. Thanks for the post Tipper!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    May 14, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I don’t think I’ve seen Solomon’s Seal lately. But they sure are pretty and not only that, they’re good for you, too. I think God provided us with a cure for just about everything in the plants growing around us.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Yes ma’am, they grow at the edge of the yard/woods in front of my house. Grows amongst the Little Brown Jugs.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    May 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I can’t recall seeing these on our place, but will now keep a watchful eye out as I walk around.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 7:51 am

    There is Solomon”s Seal back in the wooded area of our cabin when it dies back this year I shall have to look at that mark that gave the plant it’s name—I never heard that story before so I guess that is my lesson for today!!!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Enjoyed your story and can just imagine seeing you trying to get up the hill. I’m sure it grows in this area but am not familiar with it.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    May 14, 2012 at 7:39 am

    There is a hollow (holler) close to our home where Solomon Seal, False Solomon Seal, Dutchman’s Britches and a whole host of other plants grow, will not find (or haven’t found) them any where else except in the Black Warrior Mountains in Bank Head National Forest. My wife and I was first introduced to them when we first moved to the area, by a neighbor of ours he would hike back to a cave ,and on the way in you would find all these wild flowers growing usually in May…

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Yes! I have some Solomon’s Seal planted on the north side of my house, in the shade. It grows in laps and bounds! I never know it was used for anything, but I have been surprised many times by the uses for the plants around us.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Tipper, Thanks for posting this, now I know what that pretty wild flower is beside our fields.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Ed-yep I had to get a run-n-go and Im glad you werent there to see it LOL!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 14, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Do you mean you had to take a “run-n-go” to get up your momentum before you started up the incline? And if you made it to the top you grabbed aholt of root or a sapling or something. If you didn’t make it far enough or missed your anchor point or it wouldn’t hold, you would go running/sliding back down. So then you back up further and run faster and try again. Wish I could have been there to watch that.
    Actually I discovered it’s easier to run up a mountain than to walk. When you walk you have to stop between each step then have to get your whole body started again. And you don’t have to climb down if you have small trees or saplings to grab on to. You just let yourself go in a controlled fall and slow your descent by grabbing onto the trees on your way by. It’s been a few years since I tried that and my bones have less flex in them, so I think I’ll tell you rather than show you.
    I don’t see Solomon’s Seal where I live now but I know it well. We used to dig it and Star Grass root up on Wiggins Creek to sell for medicine. I don’t remember if we ever actually sold any.

  • Reply
    Sue from Ky.
    May 14, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Yes, I have seen it growing in our woods in the past. I haven’t gone into the woods a lot lately, since the ticks and turkey mites are so bad, but we have had a few paths cleared this Spring, so possibly I will get to tour the woods a bit more now.

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